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Should I Get A Pod X3 Live, A Pod Hd Or Something Else Entirely?


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#1 Shaamaan

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 01:09 AM

Hi everyone!

 

I'm a newbie guitarist, still learning. As such, I didn't really spend a whole deal on an elaborate setup (I've made as much use of hardware I've already owned) and I'm currently using my JTV89 (which I'm really happy with) with a TonePort GX connected to my PC, which in turn is connected to an old (but good!) NAD amplifier and through that a pair of speakers. Note, that I don't need to record yet - as stated, I'm still learning - and all I need is to monitor the sound and have low latency. As such, the signal is routed via the jack output from the TonePort (so I'm NOT using the USB) to the LineIn in my PC which in turn (using kX drivers for old Creative cards) routes this to the amplifier (the computer needs to be turned on for the TonePort to work anyway, so I might as well get some control out of it).

 

The end result is satisfactory, but leaves a lot to be desired. For one, I need to constatnly fumble around with the cables and if I leave the guitar plugged in then the batter gets drained. Another, quite obvious thing, is that I need to have the PC turned on and applications running. Finally, the sound quality is... well, it's not terrible, but it could definitely be better.

 

With all that said, I think I'd love to make use of the digital interface on the Variax. From what I can tell, only a handful of devices offer this functionality. Amongst them are the POD X3 Live and the POD HD 500 - the former is definitely cheaper, but I can only get a used unit (there are some for sale on the local auction sites), while the latter is far more expensive (even the used models are priced at almost twice that of the X3). From what I could gather the HD 500 is really well built - something I don't really need if I'm going to be using this at home, but (supposedly?) also offers better sound quality.

 

Which of these devices would be a good purchase for me? Or perhaps... is there an entirely different device you could recommend?


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#2 clay-man

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 02:35 AM

Are you using POD Farm? If you're not using any effects on your computer, you don't need to use guitar->GX->Amp. But if you are, you probably should be using a reamp device, unless your amp has some way to accept line-level input.

 

The 500 beats the old POD stuff by a loooong shot. I had a GX that came with POD Farm, which was essentially the old POD modeling in software form. I wasn't very satisfied with it, compared to present day modeling technology. It was good back then, but it's outdated imo. You can get decent tones, but the HD series really steps it up and sounds incredible. 

 

I used to have a GX, and I liked how low the noise levels were, but it crapped out on me in under a year so I replaced it with an M Audio Fast Track Pro.

 

You can use the POD HD as both a multiFX and an audio interface though, so if you ever want to record stuff on a computer, or jam out on an amp, you have both options.

 

 

One more thing: The POD HD has features that work with your Variax so you can control the Variax in certain ways, like switch patches on the guitar that you put in the POD HD, or do alternate tunings. You need a VDI cable to do this though.

The POD X3 has some Variax features, but not nearly as many as the HD.


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#3 Shaamaan

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 02:44 AM

My aplifier doesn't have a line input, so there goes that idea. Which is why I'm using the ToneDirect GX to do spruce up the signal before I send it to the speakers - which is sitll pretty quiet however. Note, that for learning I prefer to use clean tones. That said, it's a ton of fun to add some effects every once in a while. :D It's a guilty pleasure and I don't intend to stop.

 

Regarding the VDI - I've got the cable that came in with the guitar itself (along with the USB interface to make use of the Workbench), so that isn't a problem.

 

My only issue with the HD series is that only the 500 model has the VDI interface and it's bloody expensive. :(


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#4 Rewolf48

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 04:59 AM

"My amplifier doesn't have a line input, so there goes that idea"

 

Yes it does, but you might not have the right cable.

 

The RCA inputs - standard connections for virtually all consumer audio equipment accept unbalanced Line Level input signals.

 

The 1/4" Jacks on the HD500 output unbalanced line level signals.  They are compatible

 

All you need is a long stereo RCA cable like this: http://www.amazon.co...2618874&sr=1-15

And a couple of RCA to 1/4" Jack adaptors like these: http://www.amazon.co...rca 1/4 adaptor which you plug into the HD500 1/4" main outputs and then plug the RCA cable between them and something like the Aux or CD input on the NAD.

 

Set HD500 to studio direct, and first time turn the master volume right down, select the correct input on the amp and then raise the volume levels.  

 

I have just done this with a Yamaha keyboard into a NAD 304 and it works perfectly.

 

You really do want a proper VDI cable or "ethercon" if you want the more generic name - the unprotected connector is really quite fragile and you are warned that the provided cable is only for software updates.  You don't have to get them from line6 e.g. http://www.amazon.co...=ethercon cable or there is another thread here about them.

 

Can't help with the money, but you did manage to purchase a JTV for starting with - look for HD500 rather than HD500x as there is little significant difference


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#5 Shaamaan

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 06:03 AM

OK, out of curiosity... won't that power only one speaker? I realize that the signal coming out from the guitar is a mono signal, but it'd be nice to have both speakers throw some sound at me. ;) On the other hand, I know that a simple splitter will drastically reduce quality...

 

Also... HOW fragile are those cables? The one I got for the software updates does indeed have a fragile-looking connector on one end, but I intend to use this whole thing at home, so unless the thing has a tendency to crumble to dust by itself, I think I should be good. ^_^

 

As far as purchasing the JTV for starting with - it was a suggestion by someone far more guitar-savvy than me. "If you're seriously thinking about learning to play then get a decent guitar and stay away from the cheap stuff, as that'll just cause trouble." So I saved up for a while and did just that. I didn't feel too financially happy right after the purchase tho. :wacko:


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#6 GearFarm

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 06:12 AM

I'd get a guitar amp.

You're just learning. Don't complicate things.

Plug in and practice.


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#7 Charlie_Watt

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 06:14 AM

The cable that comes with the JTV isn't really robust enough or long enough for playing.  If you go the pod route I would invest in a better VDI cable with a shell on both ends.


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#8 Shaamaan

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 07:29 AM

I'd get a guitar amp.

You're just learning. Don't complicate things.

Plug in and practice.

 

That doesn't solve the irritating problem of having to disconnect everything when I stop playing. Otherwise the battery will be drained. To my knowledge this problem doesn't exist when using the VDI cable, as it's also used to provide power to the guitar.

 

The cable that comes with the JTV isn't really robust enough or long enough for playing.  If you go the pod route I would invest in a better VDI cable with a shell on both ends.

 

I wonder if your cable is the same as my cable... mine is 3m I think, which seems to be plenty. As for the shell and robustness - again, I indent to use it at home, not run around on stage with it. ^_^


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#9 ur2funky

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 07:42 AM

Having the XT/X3/HD500 VDI input is great, since you never have to think about charging the JTV battery or turning it off. Plus there is added control using it too.

Downside is the HD500 factory presets are mostly useless, so you need to do some programing, which is a learning curve. Or you can download patches for any of these Line6 processors for free, but these too are a mixed bag.
I never had an X3, but I did have a XT, which I remember having some decent presets aimed at coping some famous tones.

While the HD500 is definitely sonically better to me, there is a minority that prefer Line6's early stuff (XT).

The fact that you are new to this cork-stiffing-tone stuff, add in the gap in prices, I think you would be just fine getting a X3 (or pinch pennies even more, an XT). Like mentioned above, you can plug it directly into your NAD, and also have it hooked to your PC at the same time, using either one or both. Never plugging or unplugging anything.

And using the VDI cable, never have to charge your JTV battery again!
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#10 ur2funky

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 07:58 AM

I just checked eBay, looks like XT's sell for less than $100,  X3's less than $200, and HD500's are closer to $300


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#11 ozbadman

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 10:19 AM

The quality of the clean tones on the HD is much better than on the X3/XT. This goes for both effects and amps. The X3/XT have many more amps, but most of the variations are in dirty tones, and they all sound somewhat similar to me anyway.

 

The VDI cable that comes with the JTV is completely fine for your bedroom playing. Especially since you seem to be on a tight budget.

 

The XT is the same tone quality as the X3. Basically, the X3 is the XT with all the tone packs (which you don't need for your circumstances).

 

So, I would either get the XT or the HD500. You do not need the HD500X.

 

You could also get an HD300 (which is simpler to understand) and one of these to solve your battery problem:

 

http://www.sweetwate...l/VariaxPwrKit/

 

Personally, I think you should get the HD500. It is a little complex, but very versatile and the tone quality is excellent.


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#12 Shaamaan

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 12:37 AM

For the record - I never really considered the XT because it costs pretty much the same as the X3 on the local auction site - Allegro.pl (yes, I'm from Poland).

 

I also find it extremely strange that the smaller HD models don't have the digital interface. It feels like it's a somewhat cheap move by Line6 to get everyone to buy the most expensive model. :angry: The HD300, whilst still more expensive than the X3/XT, is a bit more managable in price (if still a little bit steep for my current wallet contents).


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#13 hurghanico

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 03:16 AM

believe me, there is no comparison between the 300 and 500
for all the things that allows you to do, the 500 is worth more than double the 300, and costs less than twice


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#14 TheRealZap

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 04:14 AM

the digital interface (VDI) was left off the lower units in my opinion... yes to save money...

BUT.... you have to consider that they weren't thinking much of the original variax guitars at the time...

and the newer JTV guitars cost like 1500$ 

pretty safe to say that those aren't going to be in the hands of alot of struggling players...

 

i'd have rather had the VDI than the L6LINK...

at the time of release the L6LINK only worked with the DT50 (DT25 not out yet)

so you're looking at a 1300$ amp at the low end....

it would have made more sense to leave that off as well... and lower the price....

 

but L6LINK was new... the amps were new... I think they were just trying to encourage users to get the new gear.

 

as others have stated though... you'd end up regretting the 300/400 because of its limitations eventually...

i'd recommend holding out for a 500... but i know sometimes its not always possible.

 

 

For the record - I never really considered the XT because it costs pretty much the same as the X3 on the local auction site - Allegro.pl (yes, I'm from Poland).

 

I also find it extremely strange that the smaller HD models don't have the digital interface. It feels like it's a somewhat cheap move by Line6 to get everyone to buy the most expensive model. :angry: The HD300, whilst still more expensive than the X3/XT, is a bit more managable in price (if still a little bit steep for my current wallet contents).


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#15 Shaamaan

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 04:24 AM

Thanks for poinitng out the difference between the 300 and 500!

 

(...) and the newer JTV guitars cost like 1500$ (...)

 

Whoa... aren't those the US models? My Variax was expensive (at least given my financial posibibilities) but not THAT expensive... :P


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#16 TheRealZap

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 04:25 AM

no that's the korean price... closer to 4000$ for the USA models.

 

perhaps you have one of the older variax's and not the James Tyler Variaxes?

Whoa... aren't those the US models? My Variax was expensive (at least given my financial posibibilities) but not THAT expensive... :P


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#17 Shaamaan

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 04:32 AM

no that's the korean price... closer to 4000$ for the USA models.

:o

 

Well, I'm glad I got the deal I did for my JTV then. B)

 

Anyway, thanks everyone for the great input! I guess I'll try to save up some money.

 

Or perhaps I should pester my family a bit to get a little something-something for Christmas? ^_^

 

EDIT: No, it's not one of the older models (after all, I managed to register my guitar ;) ). I think it must have come from a sale. A quick Google search shows there was one earlier this year and these guitars were sold for ~$700, which is more or less what I paid for mine.


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#18 TheRealZap

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 04:52 AM

yeah there was a sale to that effect on the hardtail 89 models if i recall...

great price! that would have been a decent price for a used one even...

 

:o

 

Well, I'm glad I got the deal I did for my JTV then. B)

 

Anyway, thanks everyone for the great input! I guess I'll try to save up some money.

 

Or perhaps I should pester my family a bit to get a little something-something for Christmas? ^_^

 

EDIT: No, it's not one of the older models (after all, I managed to register my guitar ;) ). I think it must have come from a sale. A quick Google search shows there was one earlier this year and these guitars were sold for ~$700, which is more or less what I paid for mine.


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#19 Rewolf48

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 06:10 AM

OK, out of curiosity... won't that power only one speaker? I realize that the signal coming out from the guitar is a mono signal, but it'd be nice to have both speakers throw some sound at me. ;) On the other hand, I know that a simple splitter will drastically reduce quality...

 

The HD500 (and X3L etc) are stereo devices with a Left and Right output, this supports effects such as stereo delay, panning and some reverbs.  connect the L+R outs of the HD500 into the L+R inputs of your NAD (or any other HiFi product) and you get a stereo sound.  

 

HD500 with dual paths and both Magnetic and Modelled inputs from a JTV can output for example and Acoustic Model to one side and Magnetic Pickups through a modelled amp onto the other side at the same time if you want it too.  Just need to work out how to set it up properly - put a mono effect in the wrong place and all you get is mono, but that just means the same signal on L and R, so no need for a splitter.


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#20 Shaamaan

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 05:34 AM

(...)

as others have stated though... you'd end up regretting the 300/400 because of its limitations eventually...

(...)

 

One more quick question regarding that particular statement...

 

I'm looking through the comparison between the different HD models (300, 400 and 500), and aside from things like a smaller looper or less space for user presets... what ARE the limitations you're talking about when comparing the 300 to the 500 model?


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